I enjoy sharing news and developments here at Via, and there is a lot to tell you. I especially need to tell you about a few challenges Via is facing that relate to how we function under a social enterprise business model. Through this model, we help fund our more costly paratransit services by operating transportation routes for other organizations and municipalities. The revenue from these contracts helps us fund our mission to promote independence and self-sufficiency for people with limited mobility.
Since 1996, Via has provided RTD’s Access-a-Ride service throughout the Denver-Boulder-Longmont area. In the year 2000, Via was also awarded a contract to provide a portion of RTD’s FlexRide service, formerly Call-n-Ride. Every five years RTD conducts a contracting process bid through a request for proposals. Via won a bid in 2017 for the two services, and that contract is now expiring on June 30th, 2023.
In the recent RFP process, RTD awarded Via the entire FlexRide service for the RTD District. However, RTD chose to award the portion of the Access-a-Ride business that Via has operated to a new company. This will result in a significant loss of revenue for Via over the five-year contract term.
While the expansion of the FlexRide service is positive for Via, and doubles revenue from that service, the overall loss over the five-year contract period will be challenging for Via. We have communicated the anticipated impacts of this loss to the RTD leadership as well as area local governments.
It is likely that this reduction in revenue will result in the elimination of direct service positions, as well as supervisors, and potentially a reduction in Via Paratransit services. However, Via continues to develop and seek new independent service contracts which will build our revenue and strengthen our financial sustainability. This is a major goal in Via’s Board of Directors’ new Strategic Plan and will benefit Via and our riders into the future.
In this regard, Via is working on the development of a local microgrid in partnership with the City of Boulder, Boulder County, the University of Colorado – Boulder, and Xcel Energy. This will complement efforts to transition the local transit and paratransit fleets to a Zero Emission format and increase renewable energy sources.
We are laying the foundation for an exciting future and will share specific details as we move forward. Thank you for your ongoing support. We appreciate your interest and engagement!